Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes says an assault on a traffic warden who was performing her duties on the streets of the City last Sunday was tantamount to “bush behaviour”.
But taxi operator Heather Denise Kellman, of Lammings Park, St Joseph who pleaded guilty to committing the act against Rosita Kellman said the incident occurred out of frustration.
The traffic warden was on the job about 1:50 p.m. on March 26, when she saw a vehicle parked in a no parking zone in the City. She placed a ticket on the vehicle.
Sergeant Theodore McClean in reading the facts said at the same time the 42-year-old taxi operator who had parked the vehicle there returned. There was a verbal exchange and the taxi operator threw the ticket at the warden hitting her in the chest.
Attorney-at-law Rasheed Belgrave in his mitigation explained that his client was “sincerely remorseful” for what had occurred.
He said given the Covid-19 situation and with everybody shopping, his client wanted to get a few items but couldn’t get a park and “took a chance”.
Belgrave told the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court when she returned she saw the ticket.
“She asked for a chance. But it was not like a fast bowling move, it was just a fling back thing. She did not mean to assault a public worker. It was just frustration. She is a taxi driver, haven’t had a job for the last two weeks, thinking where she is going to get that extra $50 from. It was just a matter of frustration.
“It was a boiling pot of circumstances. She acted out of character,” the lawyer said on behalf of the first-time offender.
But this did not sit well with the chief magistrate.
“This is bush behaviour . . . of the highest form and fashion. Even in frustration you know you dead wrong.”
“I have a major problem with this one. Someone is doing her job and that is how you are going to behave? She (the taxi operator) is a bush woman that is the real behaviour. We pretend in this place but that is the real behaviour that came out. When she (the traffic warden) said no, that is the end of that and that is how civilized people behave. The warden has no obligation to have a conversation with her.”
Weekes said he was also concerned about the behaviour being perpetuated by some public service drivers.
“They seem to have a certain behaviour pool which seems to tell them that civil behaviour is no longer needed. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable behaviour.
“This is my problem with Barbados . . . the first reaction can’t be to throw things in the face of authority. This is the society we have now they behave as though they are in the jungle,” he said
The taxi operator also addressed the court.
“I didn’t intend to hit her. Yes I am wrong for parking there but her reaction and my reaction did not click . . . and I just tossed it (the ticket) I jus fling it out . . . I was just frustrated.
“I have no problem in apologising because I felt like I disrespected her,” she added.
The taxi operator is now on a bond to keep the peace for six months. If she breaches the order she will have to pay the court $1,000 forthwith or spend one month in prison.
No conviction will be recorded against her if she does not find her self in trouble with the law during the bond period.
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